Just like you took the empty toy boxes and ripped-up wrapping paper to the curb, itâ€™s likely that some relational housekeeping is in order. Family gatherings can often be a petrie dish for bitterness. Bitterness is a rapid-growing weed, and offenses new and old, perceived and real, big and small are the seeds. If you arenâ€™t vigilant, the cheerful moments and memories will soon be overgrown with spiritual kudzu, like a â€™67 pick-up truck in a Tennessee front yard.
Bitterness is a thug. It drags your opinion of the person you are holding a grudge against into your mental alley, and proceeds to internally pummel the living daylights out of them. The bruised and bloodied image of them thatâ€™s left, hides all that personâ€™s traits which are praiseworthy, commendable, and for which you should be grateful.
There are certain people in our life who always manage to find a way to push our buttons, rubbing us the wrong way. If a certain person just came to mind, you need to get busy with the hard, but God-honoring, work of reconciliation. Have they truly offended you? Or are you simply refusing to be long-suffering towards them? Have you really been hurt, or was it just that your pride and selfishness were exposed? For every one of their faults, can you make a list of ten of their virtues for which you are (or should be) grateful?
But what of their offenses, faults, and annoying idiosyncrasies? If theyâ€™re a Christian, imagine what theyâ€™d be like without the sanctifying Spirit of Christ at work within them. If they arenâ€™t a Christian, forgiveness, patience, long-suffering, and forbearance are going to be one of the primary ways which you will be demonstrating the Gospel which you should be sharing with them.